The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a murder accused who has been lodged in jail with her minor son for more than 3 years, so as to enable the child to develop acquaintances with other family members, especially his father.
Significantly, the Court opined that even if it is presumed that the mother of the child (accused/bail petitioner) has committed the offence of Murder, she deserved to be enlarged on bail so that her child is introduced to other family members and he gets used to living with other family members, especially his father.
"In the event of the petitioner (mother of child) being convicted for her having committed offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, she may have to live in jail for a long time and in this situation, minor child, who is living with the bail petitioner in jail, needs to develop acquaintance with other family members so that he does not get affected of the trauma of her separation from his mother," the bench of Justice Sandeep Sharma remarked as it granted bail to Sarabjit.
The bench also reasoned that the minor child, who is compelled to live with his mother in jail, cannot be allowed to become the victim of the offence allegedly committed by his mother.
Therefore, keeping in view his future and to avoid a serious impact on his psyche, the Court observed, it would not be safe to keep him in jail along with his mother for an indefinite period.
Additionally, taking into account the status of the trial and observing that considerable time is likely to be consumed in the conclusion of the trial, the Court found it appropriate to enlarge the accused on bail as it noted that delay in the trial would be violative of the right guaranteed under article 21 of Constitution of India.
"Having taken note of the fact that the bail petitioner is behind bars for three years and 13 witnesses remain to be examined, this court has reason to believe that considerable time is still likely to be consumed in the conclusion of the trial and it may not be in the interest of justice to allow the bail petitioner to remain behind the bars for an indefinite period, as it would definitely amount to the pre-trial conviction of her," the Court remarked.
The Court also noted that the petitioner is not a habitual offender or a hardened criminal, who in the event of being enlarged on bail, may flee from justice or again indulge in such activities, rather she being local resident of the area would be always available for trial.
The case in brief
The FIR in the case was lodged in March 31, 2018, by the complainant (Sunil Kumar), who happens to be the nephew of the deceased Manjeet, alleging therein that news of the expiry of the deceased, who used to live in a rented accommodation along with her family members, was received by him from his father and when he saw the body, he found that there were marks of strangulation on her neck.
Further, when he inquired from the daughter-in-law of the deceased maternal aunt i.e. bail petitioner herein, for the reason of marks on the body of the deceased, she disclosed that the deceased had a headache and she (accused) had given massage.
However, the complainant suspected that his deceased maternal aunt had been murdered by her daughter-in-law i.e. present bail petitioner and as such, the instant FIR was lodged.
Case title - Sarabjit v. State of Himachal Pradesh [Criminal Misc. Petition (Main) No. 2406 of 2022]